How much exercise is enough? There is no one answer. Age, sex and current fitness level, along with risk factors such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and excessive weight, must be factored into the equation. All of these considerations may make it impractical to compare various fitness programs. But the following guidelines can help you reach your goals.

For healthy adults younger than 65 years of age who wish to maintain their heart health, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Jogging, swimming and brisk walking are good examples of cardiovascular exercises, as are strenuous housework activities such as scrubbing floors.

In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine said that Americans should perform even more physical activity to control their weight. While 30 minutes a day can maintain good health, 60 minutes a day can help control your weight and 90 minutes a day may be necessary to produce and maintain weight loss.

Weight training can also produce significant changes to your physique. One of the most effective weight-training tools is the kettlebell, whose use combines functional strength development, body control and rigorous cardiovascular exercise. In addition, stretching enhances a strength program by increasing flexibility and helping to move more freely.

It is also important to maintain your target heart rate. You can find standard target heart rates, which vary by age, on several Web sites. To check your heart rate, stop exercising momentarily, take your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply this number by six to find the number of beats per minute. If you are just starting an exercise program, keep your heart rate at the lower end of your target heart rate zone. Women will find that newer tables set the target heart rate a bit lower than previously recommended.

Remember to undergo a thorough physical examination before beginning any physical fitness program. We will gladly design a program that can enable you to achieve your fitness goals. Call our office for a consultation.